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Thursday, May 16, 2024

'The Last of Us' Is Getting a TV Show, Which Seems Redundant

Greetings, and welcome once again to Replay, WIRED's twice-monthly column about everything happening in the world of video games. It's a holiday week, so you'd think that the news might be slow, but that's far from the case. In fact, we have news about The Last of Us, DOTA 2, and, surprisingly, Super Mario Bros. 3. Strap in.

The Last of Us Is Getting a TV Show, Which Does Seem a Little Redundant

Finally, the hammer of decision has struck: HBO is turning Sony and Naughty Dog's The Last of Us into a television series. On the one hand, it's a match made in TV heaven. HBO's prestige programming is the perfect home for the game's plotty, grimdark series of twists and turns, harrowing moments of the human soul, and scary monsters doing monster murders.

But that, in and of itself, is what's so weird: The Last of Us is already more dedicated to film and TV-style storytelling than almost any game out there. You could easily lift the plotting and acting wholesale from the franchise and you'd have a pretty OK show. So how does this new HBO thing differentiate itself? Well, it has the talent: Craig Mazin, who helmed Chernobyl, will be executive producing, working alongside longtime series writer and director Neil Druckmann. No word yet on casting, though it'll be hard to replace the iconic performances of Ashley Johnson and Troy Baker. Then again, Johnson's character, Ellie, does sort of look just like Ellen Page …

A Valve Employee Banned a DOTA 2 Player for Hilariously Petty Reasons

Absolute power corrupts absolutely, and small amounts of power corrupt hilariously. That, at least, is the case for one Valve employee, who, as explained by Rock Paper Shotgun, abuseD his power over the game DOTA 2 in order to, uh, ban someone who made him mad. Sean Vanaman, Valve employee and former founder of Campo Santo, which developed Firewatch, got mad at a teammate in the game, who goes by "Minijuanjohndoe" on Reddit, and booted him into low-priority matchmaking, a penalty doled out to those who break the rules. Thus, this guy had a harder time getting games and earning rewards for them … because he annoyed Sean Vanaman.

After being called out on the offense, Vanaman was investigated internally, and the Valve team found that, yeah, that mess was petty. He apologized, saying, "The team looked into this case and concluded the user clearly did not deserve the ban. Even if the user did deserve a ban, however, we all think it’s clear that manually banning users is not a good idea because of how hard it is to be objective in DOTA games that you are in. … That has been the team’s informal policy in the past, but it has clearly failed in this case. It won’t remain informal going forward—manual bans like this won’t be allowed anymore altogether. And sincere apologies to user u/minijuanjohndoe."

Why that was not a formal policy is beyond us. But, at least, this won't happen again. So feel free to annoy Valve employees all you want, gamers. They're powerless to stop you. (Actually, please do not annoy video game employees recreationally; they have a very difficult job.)

An Original Super Mario Bros. 3 Cartridge Is Apparently Worth a Lot of Money

Super Mario Bros. 3 came out for the Nintendo Entertainment System in 1988, where it retailed for, you know, a normal amount of money. But an unopened copy of a rare version of the game recently sold for a lot, lot more.

As reported by Kotaku, a very rare copy of the game from an early run, where the logo was aligned to the left instead of the right (seriously), was recently put up for auction, where it sold for the actual real dollar amount of $156,000. According to Heritage Auctions, which handled the bidding, it's the highest price a video game has ever fetched at auction. Collecting is wild.

Recommendation of the Week: Night in the Woods by Infinite Fall, on most platforms

It's more winter than fall at this point, but it's still the right season for Night in the Woods, a melancholy and sweet game about loss, failure, community, and capitalism. It follows Mae Borowski, a drop-out (and a cat, everyone's an animal here) who doesn't know what her purpose is or who she's supposed to be. Watch her return to her small-town Rust Belt home and languish in the big vibes and wistful mood. It's a sweet, thoughtful adventure game, and hopefully it'll bring a bit of community and care into your isolated winter.

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